I am honestly still in shock about what happened yesterday. I mean, what the hell was that?
The last time I put words into sentences and hit "publish" on here, I wrote about how Mark Stoops has done a remarkable job during his time in Lexington. In fact, even after Saturday's game, I still believe that. Now, I'm addressing the other side of the argument, which is also completely valid.
Simply put: This has happened too many times in the Stoops era.
What I mean by that is if Kentucky football wants to take that next step as a program, they cannot have that happen consistently. And sadly, it has.
There was a world where they could've been 2-0 after Auburn and Ole Miss, but we weren't living in that world. Lots of mistakes cost Kentucky two straight losses and a ton of disappointment.
But, they came back strong and beat a decent Mississippi State team and hammered the Vols in Knoxville. They got back to where they started the season and were about to turn the corner. Maybe a little later than some of us would've liked, but better late than never. They were earning some more national hype and were in a good spot. All they had to do was beat a Missouri team they had beaten six straight years. But, no.
Instead, they went to Columbia and got destroyed. It honestly was a complete system failure. The players looked lost and the coaches looked lost. The Cats couldn't move the ball in the first half and the defense didn't look great.
Missouri had 18 more first downs, out-gained Kentucky by 276 yards, had the ball for almost 30 more minutes, had zero turnovers, converted ten 3rd downs and four 4th downs.
Read that and let it sink in. That was against a team Kentucky is better then. Yet, it looked like a JV versus Varsity scrimmage.
The problem on Saturday was Eddie Gran. The play calling sucked. The decisions sucked. And to be honest, I have no idea if they had a game plan or not since they switched QB's four times.
The simple solution was to put Chris Rodriguez in and let him go to work, which they did, once. But he only got nine carries. How does Kentucky's best running back only get nine carries? Yes, he's our best running back. I love AJ Rose, but Rodriguez is better.
That's not my point though. My point is, Kentucky has been here several times. They have been so close to taking the next step as a program, they could reach out and touch it. Yet, every time, it seems they take a massive step back and leave us all wondering "what the hell was that?"
Two years ago Kentucky had their best season ever. 10-3. But, this same thing happened. The Cats were 5-0 going to Texas A&M, which was a game they could've easily won. But, they looked horrible and lost the game. Then, after getting drilled by Georgia, they went to Knoxville and got smacked by one of Tennessee's worst teams in recent memory.
Last year, Kentucky was on the national stage against Florida, and were kind of dominating the Gators. They were going to win the game. Instead, they completely collapsed and lost a heartbreaker.
In 2016, Kentucky entered the season with a lot of hype. Drew Barker was the new sheriff in town and fans were excited. All they had to do was beat a Southern Miss team they should've easily beat and they were. Kentucky was up 34-17 at the half and dominating. What ensued is something I still have nightmares about. The Cats got shutout in the second half and suffered a horrible, season-opening loss.
In 2015, Kentucky started the season 4-1. Granted, the fourth win was a nail-biter to EKU. Yeah, that's really hard to type out, but it's the truth. They proceeded to win only one of their next seven games and finish the season 5-7.
In 2014, Kentucky started the season 5-1, their only loss being an OT thriller in Gainesville. A lot of hype surrounded Mark Stoops and the program. Instead, the Cats collapsed and didn't win another game.
Kentucky has been so close to turning the corner, but every time they fall short in a horrendous way. They take a couple steps forward and then take a couple huge steps back, and that same thing happened Saturday.
Mark Stoops has done a great job here in Lexington. But, sometimes you have to point out the bad stuff that no one wants to talk about. Well, here it is. If Kentucky wants to take the next step as a program, this stuff can't happen.
Alright, I'm done being negative.